An Indian submarine, which had already been damaged in an explosion in 2010, exploded and caught fire today, killing all the 18 sailors on board.
The Associated Press reported that a naval official spoke to them under conditions of strict anonymity due to the fact that no bodies have yet been recovered by divers. He said that there is no way that anyone could have survived the explosion. The blast ripped through the vessel, causing huge fires which could be seen from quite a distance.
The tragic accident occurred when the Indian submarine was docked at a Mumbai naval base. After the blast, officials opened one of the submarine’s hatches but were unable to enter the vessel. Admiral D.K. Joshi told reporters: “We hope for the best but we have to prepare for the worst.”
The explosion took place in the submarine’s torpedo compartment. The blast sent a massive fireball into the air. Many sailors abandoned the ship in a panic. The exact cause of the explosion is yet to be ascertained by Indian naval authorities. What is known is that some of the submarine’s weaponry exploded in one of the twin blasts.
Soon after the explosions, at least 12 fire engines were dispatched to the dock and extinguished the huge fires within about two hours.
The submarine was 16 years old, of Russian origin, and was hit by an explosion in 2010. In that incident, three people were killed. The vessel was subsequently repaired, only to suffer twin explosions, which proved to be fatal.
Today’s Indian submarine accident highlights the urgent need for the Indian government to upgrade their naval fleet in order that tragedies like this can be avoided in the future.